I believe having a daily routine is essential for productivity and success. But what is more important than that is having a morning routine. The morning is the your time to start anew and to start fresh. When the morning goes right, it gives the rest of your day momentum and energy. In the first paragraph of this blog post, I have already highlighted some benefits of having a morning morning routine. But if you reading on below, I will explain why everyone ought to have a morning routine.
Gives You Time to Yourself
The morning is your time. It is the only time of the day where you are uninterrupted by the burdens of the outside world. If you can wake up before everyone else wakes up, you have that quiet solitude to do whatever you please. This gives you a chance to catch up on things you really want to do, to reflect, to get ahead, to do whatever you please.
When you are starting your day with a morning routine, you are in fact investing in yourself first. This investment pays dividends throughout your day and throughout your life.
Gives You a Sense of Normalcy to Ease Your Cognitive Load
Although spontaneity can bring some joy in life, there should also be some normalcy for the sake of efficiency. Do you really want to wake up and have to decide on what to do next every day? I sure didn’t. This sense of normalcy means you wake up everyday knowing what you are going to do next without even a thought about it. Sometimes, it is good to go on autopilot.
Being on autopilot eases your cognitive load. After all, energy is a finite resource. Every conscious decision you have to make takes a load on your brain and requires glucose. The more decisions you make, the more tired your brain gets. But if you are doing things on autopilot, that eases the burden on your brain and it uses less energy. Although you shouldn’t live your life on autopilot, I definitely think your mornings are one of the few things in your life that should be on autopilot.
Gives Momentum to Your Day and Makes You More Productive
When you start off the day right, you are automatically more productive. Starting off your day on the right foot gives you a head start to your day and allows you to get ahead. If you wake up and are rushed, you are playing catch up and just letting the day dictate what you are going to do. But if you wake up with a routine, you are getting ahead of your day and preparing for the day. You are acting, instead of reacting. You are being proactive instead of reactive.
When you take care of yourself first, it gives you momentum and motivation to conquer the rest of our day. When you are able to get things done before people even wake up, you are, as Brian Tracy would say, “eating that frog.” You are giving yourself small victories that compound later in the day.
What Should Your Morning Routine Consist Of?
So we talked about a morning routine, but what are the components of a morning routine? What does your routine need to consist of for you to make the most of your morning and the rest of your day? Here are the important ingredients of a morning routine:
Quality sleep: Quality sleep is bar far the most important component of a good morning routine. You do not want to wake up having not slept well the night before. So how do you ensure that you sleep well? For one, I would be sure to not use my smart phone or laptop a couple of hours before going to bed. The blue light emitted from electronics disrupts your circadian rhythm. Additionally, sleeping in total darkness allows for deeper sleep. There is a reason why the best night’s rest are always in hotel rooms—they use blackout shades to block out any and all lights.
Exercise: To maximize your potential for the rest of the day, I highly suggest doing some cardio exercise in the morning. Doing cardio in the morning allows for your brain to perform better throughout the day and with more vigor. It also allows you to sleep better at night too.
Have a plan: You should plan your day before or the morning of. If you don’t have a plan for your day, then you are letting the day dictate what you do, not the other way around. I like to take 15 minutes the night before to write down what needs to get done the next day. Then when I wake up I like to review the list for a 5-10 minutes to prepare for the day. Remember, prior preparation prevents (piss) poor performance.
Work on yourself: Whether it is writing, reading, a hobby, or a personal project, the morning is a time for you to work on it. That is what I mean by working on yourself. Don’t wait until the evening when you are drained from work to invest in yourself. Do it first thing in the morning. When you do this, you are happier throughout the day because you have done something that makes you happy.